Ruth had her first pasty within 2 hours of arriving in Penzance but she didn’t get to dine in its best restaurant. We went to the southwest corner of Great Britain because The New York Times picked Penzance as the #14 best destination for 2017. It chose this city because of Poldark’s popularity, the Jubilee Pool, and Cornwall’s new reputation as a culinary destination.
Strolling Penzance’s main street, which had the unusual name of Market Jew, we met David, who had come to Penzance on a train called The Tornado. It was being powered by a new steam engine. David was having a pasty for dinner so Ruth decided to try one. She walked a short distance to Warrens Bakery, bought one, and shared it with me. Warrens, we soon found out, had pasty shops all over Cornwall. These meat pies are now Cornish fast food and Warrens, established in 1860, claims to make the world’s best.
Cornish pasties are unique among meat pies because men took them down into the mine to eat for lunch. Filled with beef skirt, potatoes, onion, and something called swede, which I later learned is a type of turnip, Cornish pasties had the miner’s initials on one corner and one crimped dough edge so that the pasty would not become dirty from coal on the hungry miner’s hand.
Shortly after meeting David, who lives near Stonehenge, we met Laurence Hartwell. Laurence gave me his card and suggested that we dine at The Shore, which was recommended by The New York Times. He said it was the best restaurant in town and that we would not get fresher seafood locally. I looked at his card and learned that Laurence is a fishing industry advisor. He said to mention his name when we dined there.
After checking out the steam engine with hundreds of others, Ruth & I said farewell to David and walked the short distance to The Shore. It was closed. Almost every other restaurant in town was closed too because it was Sunday and Monday was a bank holiday. However, unlike other dining establishments The Shore had a note on its door saying that reservations were essential.
Since we were to be in Penzance for 3 nights, Ruth & I sought the help of the couple who ran our hotel. They agreed to call and secure reservations, assuring us that we’d get in. We returned to our hotel by late afternoon the next day to learn that The Shore had not returned their many calls. We walked to it again and it was dark and empty. The next day we returned from the Jubilee Pool to learn that The Shore’s chef had just called to say that his restaurant would be opened that evening but that it was fully booked.
We had to settle for a pub and pasties.